Donald Byrne over at Catholic Journal has an excellent look at both our horrid fiscal situation (yes, we really are going bankrupt) and points out that that in our most-desired goals (prosperity and equity), free market capitalism does much better than State socialism. Essentially, the imposition of socialistic policies in the United States have exacerbated wealth disparities – if Obama’s goal was really to “spread the wealth around”, he’d be reading Hayek and changing course. Byrne concludes:
…The goals that competitive free market capitalism brings society toward are efficiency and equity on the microeconomic level and high employment and a reasonable degree of price level stability as well as a consensus driven rate of economic growth. The decisions of the many, NOT the few, dictate what an economy will produce in the way of goods and services, in what manner those goods will be produced and in distribution of income (the reward of the goods and services produced) with maximum freedom to the people as consumers and productive resources. It is an economic system that is based on the principle of subsidiarity, again, where the decision-making is driven down to the lowest level possible…after all, who knows/understands better than the individual (in most cases) what is best for them?
And there’s that word I keep using – “subsidiarity”. Remember, in the end all our fights are to secure for us “subsidiarity” – the right of individuals and localities to decide for themselves the best means of living their lives. It is at the core of American political morality – it is why our Declaration asserts that government’s must rule by consent, and why the 9th and 10th amendments were added to the Constitution. It is doubtful that many of the Founders had read deeply in to Catholic social teaching, but in this case they didn’t have to….anyone with a bit of wisdom will swiftly understand his inability to dictate to others, and others far away from his own community.
Obama’s crime against Americanism (because that is what is amounts to) is to suppose that he and those in power with him can determine what is best for everyone. That they can justly “spread the wealth around” and come to a superior outcome than the individuals, themselves, could achieve. Not only is this wrong philosophically, it is also wrong in strictly practical terms. The erosion of the middle class, the destruction of America’s ability to make, mine and grow things, the bankrupting of our nation and the moral decline of the populace are directly traceable to socialistic attempts to decree an outcome, rather than allow things two work themselves out through the interplay of free people.
The only quibble I have with Byrne is over the use of the word “capitalism”. We should more emphasize the term “free market” than the word “capitalism” because capitalism has come to mean in the public mind a collection of Ivy League educated board room trolls, and the government-subsidized crony-capitalist. Our fight is not to make the world safe for GE; not to make smooth the path of Government Motors…but to free up the market so that average men and women can enter it, using their own means of production, to create wealth for themselves, their families and their communities.
In practical, political terms I think we’d do much better this way. What we have growing in the United States is a populist revolt against the Ruling Class. Sickened by the corruption of politics and the economy, the people are demanding that those who have ruined things be tossed out, while those who are willing to work obtain the greatest reward. We’ll go further – obtain more power to reform, that is – if we hitch ourselves to this popular revolt, and we can best do that by clearly identifying ourselves in complete opposition to what is currently wrong.
As we enter the Great Debate of 2012, we’ll have Obama telling everyone that a victory for free markets means granny being thrown over the cliff. Allied with Obama will be those crony capitalists who will warn that failure to support “too big to fail” corporations will be a disaster. We must expose these lies – we must present a vision of America free and prosperous, and explain that all socialist plans (regardless of what label they are given) will lead to poverty, dependence and a divided, dysfunctional America sliding towards tyranny. Our question must be – who do you trust: Obama or yourself? Make that the issue of 2012 and we’ll win so big a victory that liberalism will not trouble us again for 20 years.